Oakland 6, Anaheim 1 (WPA Graph from Fangraphs)
A's Current Record: 32-30
The A's and Angels reprised their singles war, this time with the A's coming out on top. This time, the teams combined for 15 hits, 12 of which were singles. The A's, complemented the one-baggers with four walks, two steals, and no GIDPs and put up six runs. Meanwhile, the Angels only scored one time as they walked just once, went 0 for 1 stealing bags, and hit into one double play.
The big story of the game was Trevor Cahill, as he went a career best eight innings. His sinker was obviously working very well, as he induced 14 grounders, compared to 8 flyballs plus line drives. What made this the best start of his career, though, was his control and his secondary pitches.
Cahill will probably never be a pitcher that racks up the strikeouts, and if he's going to only strike out about 5 per 9, he needs to limit his walks. While a lot of pitchers can be successful walking about 3 batters per 9, Cahill can't really afford to have that many baserunners with his pitch to contact approach. A K/BB ratio of 4:1, like he had yesterday would be ideal, and he can only do that by walking only one or two guys per outing.
The sinker is Cahill's bread and butter pitch, with good reason. The pitch has a solid 10 inch horizontal drop and looks really hard to hit. What made him so dominating yesterday, though, was his change up and his curve. For his career, he'd thrown his change for strikes less than 60% of the time and his curve for strikes less than half the time. Last night, his change up was in the zone 78% of the time and his curve found the zone 68% of the time. More impressively, he got the Angels to swing and miss at his curve 18% of the time, where for his career that rate is closer to 9%.
The A's aren't always going to win when they scratch out just 8 singles and a double. They will however, always have a chance when Cahill pitches like this. Thankfully, they were able to string together the hits and mix in some walks and steals to salvage a split of the series. The A's head across the Bay to San Francisco to face the Giants, who they swept in late-May. A season sweep is probably (way) too much to ask for, but it sure would help the A's in the standings after they were only able to tread water in their head-to-head matchup with the Angels.